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Can UTI cause headaches and fatigue?

Can UTI cause headaches and fatigue?

Our content is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice by your doctor. Use for informational purposes only.

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Can UTI cause headaches and fatigue?

Fatigue and fever can be symptoms of urinary tract infection. Simple cystitis (uncomplicated urinary tract infection) often doesn’t cause headache and fatigue except in rare cases. The presence of fatigue and fever may indicate a more severe form of urinary tract infection (UTI) called pyelonephritis.

In uncomplicated or simple cystitis, you may feel mild fatigue, but fever is not usually present. When the infection extends to the kidneys or reaches the bloodstream, high-grade fever and fatigue may appear. 

Other Symptoms of UTI.

Typical symptoms of UTI include:

  • Pain during urination.
  • Frequent urination: Patients with UTI often need to urinate every hour or even every few minutes, but only a few drops or a minimal amount of urine come out.
  • Inability to start urination
  • Sudden onset of the need to urinate (urgency).
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria).
  • Fever and fatigue are rare with uncomplicated UTI (cystitis or urinary bladder infection).
  • The fever may also indicate a complicated UTI (infection of the kidneys itself). However, it is hard to distinguish between complex and uncomplicated UTIs based on fever and fatigue (malaise) symptoms.

You should consult your doctor immediately if you experience fever and fatigue with UTI. This may indicate a more severe form (complicated UTI). A complicated UTI needs more aggressive treatment with antibiotics.

Complicated UTI: what does it mean? And what are the symptoms?

Uncomplicated UTI often refers to isolated urinary bladder inflammation. The urinary bladder infection leads to the urinary symptoms explained above (dysuria, urgency, frequency, etc.).

A complicated UTI occurs when the infection goes up from the bladder to the ureters and the kidneys.

This infection may cause significant kidney damage if left untreated or undertreated.

Moreover, the infection may reach the bloodstream and spread throughout the body into other body systems causing (septicemia).

The presence of fever and significant fatigue may indicate a complicated UTI.

Symptoms of Complicated UTI include:

  • Typical symptoms of urinary bladder inflammation (frequency, dysuria, hematuria, etc.).
  • Fever can be high-grade.
  • Chills.
  • Body aches
  • Malaise and fatigue.
  • Flank pain on one or both sides.
  • Back pain.

MORE: How Do you Get UTI & Who are at Risk?

Treatment of headache and fatigue caused by UTI:

The most common cause of UTI is a bacterial infection. Rarely it can be caused by viruses and fungi.

Bacterial infection often causes high-grade fever and fatigue.

Your doctor will prescribe treatment based on the cause of the UTI.

Bacterial UTIs is treated by antibiotics (often for one week or more).

The associated headache and fatigue often resolve spontaneously after the treatment of the cause.

Your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as paracetamol (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen for headaches and fatigue.

Good hydration and good nutrition also help with the resolution of the symptoms.


  • Evidence-based
  • Written by a doctor.

MD, Internal Medicine and Nephrology specialist.
Dr. Esraa A. Magid
Dr. Esraa A. MagidAuthor